Orlando Scandrick Jersey Five lasting impressions from general conference | www.LdsCoaching.com
  Five lasting impressions from general conference
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Five lasting impressions from general conference

While the weather wasn't perfect for our family's trip to conference, the feelings in our hearts and minds were full of gratitude. There are five impressions that stand out in my mind.

Last Friday we left our home in Colorado and drove to our first general conference.

It was a delightful road trip over the Rocky Mountains. The weather was perfect, and we had the additional blessing of witnessing some amazing fall colors: The panoply of yellow, orange, red and green was breathtaking.

It started our weekend off with an appropriate sense of awe and gratitude for our Heavenly Father and this beautiful world he has carefully and lovingly created for our enjoyment. We drove into Orem through Provo Canyon with an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment, which is no small accomplishment given the eight-hour drive in a car crammed with five people, five suitcases, five pillows and blankets, as well as books, food, miscellaneous games, DVDs and other things we have yet to dig out from between the seats.

The kids (and the parents) were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to see, hear and take in the whole conference experience, so it was a whirlwind of weekend activities. Late Sunday night, we finally arrived home after driving through torrential rains, sleet, fog and even some snow.

While the weather wasn't perfect, the feelings in our hearts and minds were full of gratitude. As I reflect back on the last three days, there are five impressions that stand out in my mind.

The first is the incredible feeling of seeing so many Latter-day Saints gathered together with a common purpose. I've never seen Temple Square and the surrounding area full of so many people.

Typically, being around masses of people has been associated with attending sporting events or musical concerts, and there's always excitement when people gather together for a common cause -- especially an important one. I realize this might sound like an oxymoron, but "excited reverence" is the best way to describe it. Seeing everyone dressed in their Sunday best, young and old alike walking toward the Conference Center, was a joy to behold.

The second impression has to do with the Conference Center and the architectural masterpiece it is, both visually and acoustically.

Thanks to a dear friend, we were able to get tickets very close to the front, so we could actually see the apostles instead of just viewing them on the side screens. The kids kept asking how long before the prophet was coming -- they were so excited that it felt almost like a New Year's Eve countdown.

Finally, everyone stood up, and our beloved prophet and his counselors walked in in. Being only a few rows away added to the experience. We also had tickets for conference on Sunday morning and were able to listen to "Music and the Spoken Word" before conference started. What an amazing feeling it is to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I doubt there's another choir anywhere in the world that can produce such a melodic sound and help you feel the Spirit so strongly.

The third impression was quite different and took place outside. We had been forewarned that there would be protesters, and we had talked to our children about being respectful and not engaging them.

Since they had never been exposed to people yelling negative things about our church, we wanted to prepare them. We explained that there must be opposition in all things and although unfortunate, it is part of life.

The most impressive aspect of this situation however, was what drowned out the protesters. Perhaps 100 or more young men and women lined up on both sides of sidewalks surrounding the temple, singing inspirational hymns. It gave an impression of walking through a beautiful, sweet, protective tunnel as we walked past them. I felt the Spirit so strong that I started to cry.

When our oldest son saw me with tears running down my face, he asked me, "Daddy, what's wrong?"

It took me a minute, but eventually I answered that nothing was wrong, that they were tears of joy -- the kind of joy that comes when you know this church is true because you feel in your heart. The dichotomy between that which is of God and that which isn't could not have been more profoundly felt and experienced.

The fourth impression took place Saturday evening, when I took our oldest son to the priesthood session. One of the most bonding experiences we've ever had took place that night. Starting with Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk on fathers and sons and how to communicate better, and then continuing with the other general authorities and the First Presidency.

Standing together with so many other priesthood holders and singing a hymn with such power was awesome. I looked all around and saw so many fathers and their sons and even a few grandfathers joined by their posterity. At one point I leaned over to Nicholas and said, "Remember this moment, son. One day you will be sitting here with your son for the first time. Hopefully, I'll still be here next to you and all three generations will partake of the Spirit."

The fifth and most lasting impression took place when President Thomas S. Monson spoke in the Sunday morning session. The phrase "warm fuzzies" will never have the same meaning again -- what a great lesson for all of us. Honestly, we all know that we don't really need more "stuff" on our birthdays.

He also shared something that we can ask ourselves, our kids and each other daily: "What did you do for someone else today?"

What better way can we strive to become more like our Savior on a daily basis? What a life-long lesson for our kids to learn, that happiness and joy are found when we're in the service of our brothers and sisters. In small or big ways we can be a source of daily acts of love, compassion and kindness. It costs us nothing, but the rewards are eternal.

I am so thankful for this experience of our first in-person general conference. I hope there will be many more to come.